Category:

Press Coverage

  • The proof of the puding

    You spotted it straight away, didn’t you? Whatever I say now has lost credibility. Except that on this occasion, the typo was intentional. It just proves, however, quite how vital proof reading can be. It is a much under-valued skill – until something goes wrong. Errors online can be changed quickly and easily; although the nature of digital communication means that a vast number of people have probably already seen the mistake before you become aware of it. With traditional print format, a simple typo can be very expensive to correct.

     

    It doesn’t just come down to time and cost either. If the error has already gone out into the public domain, then your reputation will instantly be affected. Employers are known to discard CVs purely because of poor spelling or typos. I myself have rejected a sales website and moved on elsewhere having been offended by simple mistakes.

     

    Having, and even using, spell check is no enough. See what I did there? ‘No’ is a word, so is not picked up by spell check, even though it is clearly a typo in this instance.

     

    Even proof-reading experts can’t proof their own work. You become blind to mistakes, reading what you think you have written. Please recognise the skill of proof reading and don’t let silly typos lose you work.

     

  • Why ‘sales’ are not a great deal for your PR

    ‘Special Offer. Huge reduction. Once in a lifetime chance. Act Now!’ We have seen it a thousand times in all areas of our business and personal lives, but are ‘sales’ all they are cracked up to be?  Could agreeing to buy a discounted product or service do more harm than good for your business profile?

     

    The question I am most often asked is this:

    ‘A publication (insert name) has contacted me offering this great advertising deal, 50% off their rate card but they need an answer urgently. What do you think?’

     

    In a word the answer is, NO.

     

    My perspective is this: if you are going to consider advertising as part of your PR strategy, you should:

    • carefully consider all the publications of interest and benefit to your organisation
    • produce a target list, usually around 3-6 top publications where the target audience closely aligns with your own target audience
    • research your chosen top publications and then make contact and introduce yourself and your organisation to them

    I generally find that those publications on a client’s target list are so good (why would you want them to be anything less?) that they do not need to incentivise advertising rates. Unless, of course, it’s as a result of the excellent relationship you have built with them.

    A general rule is to be proactive when paying for advertising. Pick your target publications well and spend the money wisely, perhaps with a series of adverts, and negotiate the inclusion of some editorial too.  Assess how your advertising plan will work within your main PR strategy and fit with your business objectives.

    Responding to requests to buy discounted advertising is a reactive course of action, prompted by an outside party having their own best interests at heart. So, unless the publication already featured on my target list, I would say ‘no’ and spend the money elsewhere.  Just because it’s ‘cheap’ and a ‘good offer’ does not make it value for money or for a strong PR strategy; if it reaches the wrong audience in small numbers it will be a waste of time, money and effort. Worse still, it could be detrimental to your PR profile.

    Any advertising offer, therefore, should be referred to your PR team. A good PR consultant will undertake advertising on your behalf: producing target media lists; establishing and building relationships with both advertising and editorial teams for each publication; and carefully negotiating deals as part of an overall advertising plan that fits into and supports an agreed, considered PR strategy.

    Don’t be caught out.

  • Trust me……I’m a PR professional

    Ah, trust.

    As any counsellor will tell you, trust is key in any relationship. And it is vital when building relationships with editors and journalists. They need to be sure that the information you give them is accurate, truthful and not twisted into misrepresentation – their own reputations are bound up in the quality of the articles that they publish.

    And in return you need to be sure that ‘off the record’ briefings remain ‘off the record’, that embargoes are respected and that you will be given the chance to respond if a negative story breaks.

    How to build that mutual trust is the question.

    And the answer is that it can only be achieved over time, by working at building each relationship and behaving with the utmost professionalism. So, press releases need to be checked and double-checked and signed-off by all interested parties. If you say that you will provide two hi-res images, then you must deliver. If you have negotiated to contribute a non-advertorial article, then you must not send in a ‘puff’ piece full of references to your client. Otherwise you are simply wasting an editor’s time and it will be remembered the next time you want to talk about editorial.

    Responding promptly is essential. You may not be able to provide the information, images or story that the journalist wants but you should always be clear in your answers and meet agreed deadlines. And don’t be afraid to demand equally high standards from a journalist.

    Don’t allow yourself to be pushed around and never forget that you are representing your client’s profile as well as your own professionalism.

    Relationships have to be worked at. And trust has to be earned.

  • Assume nothing!

    This is our unofficial company motto and it has stood us in good stead over the years.

    We all make assumptions: assuming it won’t rain because the weather forecast said it wouldn’t or in my case, assuming that it will rain because I have just washed my hair and I have neither a jacket nor an umbrella!

    But we are all too often completely wrong.

    We tend to believe that other people will buy in to our world view and think and behave in the ways that we expect them to. This is particularly true in marketing and PR. A few examples  illustrate what I mean:

    ‘Our target audiences will want to read about/buy our products’. Just because you have identified someone as a potential customer does not automatically mean that they will appreciate that they should be interested in what you have to sell. At the very least you will need to work at getting their attention and possibly accept the unpalatable fact that some will not respond.

    ‘We’ve been around for years, everyone knows who we are and what we do.’ You need to keep the memory fresh. Times change and personnel, particularly journalists, move on. New players enter the market. Reputations need to be tended regularly and updated if your competitors are not to steal your limelight.

    ‘Big data tells us everything we need to know about our customers. All we have to do is push the right buttons.’ Really? Viewing this from your own experience as a consumer, do you find this a convincing statement? Could you predict exactly how those closest to you will react to something? And be right every time? Political parties often make this mistake and rely on data and focus groups to tailor individual policies that deliver what they think the voters want to hear. But without a distinct, convincing overarching identity which puts the tactical messaging in context, it is unlikely to elicit more than a short-lived response. Here the sum of the parts is definitely not greater than the whole.

    So, treat your audiences with respect, don’t get too comfortable, and know that you have to keep working to capture their attention. The communications space is very overcrowded.

    Assume nothing.

  • 2017. Time to get a grip on your PR

     

    Public Relations planning and strategy for 2017

    Public Relations planning and strategy for 2017

    I am the sort of person who always likes to get a grip. I am not a fan of drifting along hoping that everything will turn out for the best. PR, however, is a ‘slow burn’ activity, building over many weeks and months with the results only apparent long after the hard work has been done. It’s a discipline where patience is definitely a virtue, if not a prerequisite! But ‘slow burn’ does not mean that the quality of the input and the results generated are not linked. PR planning is essential.

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